The premise behind green products is simple: replace the old, wasteful wares from unenlightened generations past with more efficient and modern counterparts. But sadly, some of these allegedly “green” products don’t save very much energy at all. On the contrary: some of these devices actually consume more energy than they save, defeating the purpose of using said devices in the first place. Others simply aren’t environment friendly at all and are just pretending to be. Beware of the gadgets below and instead opt for other geeky green gadgets and creatively weird green gadgets.
The Fuel Saving Tornado
The Fuel Saving Tornado is one of the few infomercial products that even the most skeptical can’t help but consider. These days, you can even pick one up at Wal-Mart or Target. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that the Fuel Saving Tornado wastes energy instead of saving it. While the manufacturer claims the product “causes better fuel atomization, resulting in gas mileage increases averaging 1 to 2MPG”, a CNN investigative piece reported a loss in mpg – reporting that mileage went down from 18.4 mpg to 17.5 mpg.
The Hydro-Assist Fuel Cell
What would drive the average car owner to try connecting this mess of wires and cables to their vehicle? One way would be promising that doing so will “boost your gas mileage up to 50%” and “turn any vehicle into a hybrid car”, which is what the makers of the Hydro-Assist Fuel Cell did. Such outlandish claims make it only a matter of time before the authorities get involved, and sure enough, the FTC filed suit against the makers of this “green” device on February 3, 2009. The FTC is seeking a permanent ban on the device and refunds to all those who purchased one, stating in their court papers that the makers “are marketing a product that cannot exist and function as claimed.”
The Solar-Powered USB Memory Stick
One of the great misconceptions of the alternative energy movement is the idea that solar power is free. Not so. The only thing that’s free are the physical rays of light beamed down by the sun. Converting those rays to usable electrical power, on the other hand, can be quite costly. A case in point is this USB thumb drive. Dubbed the “Worst USB Gadget Yet”, the solar powered drive from Computex relies on solar energy to display on a screen how much free space the drive has left. As TheRawFeed notes (and we can’t help but agree), “that’s a lot of electronics and extra cost…simply for the convenience of not having to plug it in to get that info.”
4) Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are the poster child for the new generation of eco-friendly, energy saving appliances. Department stores are aggressively marketing them to consumers and they have been flying off store shelves for the better part of this decade. There’s just one problem: CFLs contain small amounts of mercury, a potentially lethal neurotoxin that cannot be safely disposed of with other garbage. But since the government has yet to discover an efficient means of recycling these bulbs, they often do wind up being tossed out with other garbage. Massive amounts of time and money must then be spent to clean up mercury contamination.
5) “Green” cleaning products
It makes people feel good to know that their cleaning products are eco-friendly and biodegradable. What gets far less attention, however, is that many allegedly “green” cleaners are either less effective than their non-green counterparts, thereby requiring more product (and product packaging) to get the job done, or, in many cases are more greenwashed than green.
While there are many genuinely eco-friendly products out there, it clearly pays to cast a discerning eye on the market for green products!